Georgia Mae Jagger walks the runway at the Marchesa show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015 on 13 September, 2014, in London, England / Getty

Marchesa seem somewhat out of step in London, where on Saturday night the label made an uncertain debut

There are some fashion shows where the clothes are the justification for the entire fuss. And there are others where the shows are justification in themselves. Marchesa epitomises a third type, where the show feels like the justification for the clothes, and indeed the label’s entire existence.

While the clothes designed by the Marchesa duo of Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are actually sold, they’re predominantly showy clothes. Daywear is non-existent, or razzle dazzle, unevenly executed, frequently unsure of itself. They long to drop the hemline and let the tulle and chiffon billow. Browsing their clothes in online retailers, I’m struck by how many are offered as bridal attire. They probably do a roaring trade.

They also populate many a red carpet. Cynically, that’s possibly because Chapman is wife of media mogul Harvey Weinstein, with well-publicised ties to Hollywood. Chapman herself is model-slim and frequently photographed treading scarlet in her own clobber.

There’s also merit in the clothes themselves, which encourages Hollywood stars to wear them. They are a safe bet. They’re pretty, conservatively so, undemanding and uninventive. Hence the reason Marchesa seem somewhat out of step in London, where on Saturday night the label made an uncertain debut. Apparently, it’s a single-season thing. And while the American press and buyers turned out in force, the British attendance was rather more lacklustre.

 

Truth be told, the collection itself was a little lacklustre too. Gypsies were the inspiration, Woodstock hippies drippy in diaphanous dresses spewed with three-dimensional flowers, ruffled in chiffon and embroidered with feather blossom bouquets. Daywear consisted of some oddities: suit jacket fronts cleaved from their grounding and belted over organza skirts flounced until they alternatively resembled peonies (intentionally) or intestines (coincidentally). Those were resoundingly unsuccessful, but luckily short-lived. The rest was at least pretty, if pretty banal. With the garlanded blooms and tiers of lace and chiffon, it frequently felt a little like meandering through a Midlands wedding expo as opposed to watching a London Fashion Week catwalk.

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Models walk the runway at the Marchesa show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015

That’s fine, of course. There is doubtless a market for anodyne nymphomaniac nymphette dresses sprigged with faux-liage like an especially lurid clutch of capodimonte porcelain. And in the correct context - say, New York City, where brittle socialites can clasp and fawn and rake the dresses of the model’s backs - it would work, for some. However, as a closing statement on the first fully-fledged day of London’s leg of the fashion circuit, it was a dud.

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